Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262
Enslaved population (1850): 22,725
Percent slave: 58%
Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524
Date range: 1829-1899
Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident

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